Toi Derricotte is an award-winning poet whose work tackles difficult and universal subject matter such as violence, racism, motherhood, and self-identity through an autobiographical lens. She is the author of The Undertaker’s Daughter and four previous poetry collections, including Tender, winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, among other honors. Derricotte is cofounder of Cave Canem, professor emerita at the University of Pittsburgh, and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Toi Derricotte’s story is a hero’s journey—a poet earning her way home, to her own commanding powers. “I”: New and Selected Poems shows the reader both the closeness of the enemy and the poet’s inherent courage, inventiveness, and joy.It is a record of one woman’s response to the repressive and fracturing forces around the subjects of race, class, color, gender, and sexuality. Each poem is an act of victory as the author finds her way through repressive forces to speak with beauty and truth.
This collection features more than thirty new poems as well as selections from five previous collections.
What are the forces that cause us to strike out and harm each other? Captivity explores the way in which the individual is held hostage by society; how the forces of racism, sexism, and classism frequently express themselves as violence within the family. The book also explores a deeper captivity, like the Jews in Egypt yearning for the Promised Land, the soul trapped in exile from God.